This 18 km / 11 mile route goes by two main names - The
West Fife Cycle Way and The Clackmannan Way. Later on, Sustrans intend
to call this route number 76 forming the Stirling to Forth Bridge Cycle
Route. Whatever its name it serves as an excellent route to the west from
Dunfermline avoiding busy A-Class roads.
The route also serves as the backbone for the West of Fife Green Recreational
Routes the routes: The Charlestown, Crombie and Culross Cycle Routes
all branch off from this former railway line.
The full route from Clackmannan to Dunfermline is fully tarmaced with
grass verges and provides a good all year round surface.
[updated Apr 2010]
The Fife section of the route also has the distinction of having the
most useless cycle access facilities that have ever been designed. There
are a number of access points along the route which cater for walkers,
cyclists and horses, the gates and the walk over bars are functional
(the bars are scarred by chain-rings marks) but I defy any cyclist except
a "penny-farthing" rider to get through these cycle points.
Designed in feet and built in centimetres!
Although the railway is existent in parts of Dunfermline, it is only
when it reaches William Street on the outskirts of the town that the
off road really starts. A car park and Cycle Information Point (CIP)
has been established at the starting point. The path skirts along the
back of some houses before opening up to a wide path which becomes the
norm for the rest of the route. The WFCW gently climbs until it goes
under the first bridge when a gradual descent leads down to Oakley,
given a tail wind and you will feel like a super-man! The Charlestown
Green Cycle Route branches off at the second bridge, then a bit farther
on near Cairneyhill the Crombie and Culross also branch off.
The first point of interest is at Oakley, this is not a salubrious area
so do not be disappointed by the rubbish which abounds. The path opens
up in what was the marshalling yard and junction for a mineral line
to the north. The WFCW then goes into shallow cuttings to cross over
the spectacular Comrie Burn Viaduct. The route between Oakley and beyond
the burn has suffered greatly from flooding in the past and is at the
time of writing (February 2002) being re-surfaced.
At the eastern end of the viaduct is another CIP which is at the junction
of a mineral line. The countryside opens out after the cuttings on the
far side with views of the Lothian's to the south. The Culross Route
rejoins the WFCW shortly before the railway enters the far reaches of
On the right is one of the access mines which form part of the Longannet
Coal Complex, feeding coal into the Longannet Power Station. The WFCW
is bisected by a farm road and two access points have been erected here.
Again they are totally useless for their intended purpose. At one time
vandals broke the gates allowing a more rational entry but these unfortunately
have been repaired. Flooding is also big problem here.
Boghall Station and Signal Box is just after the access points, the
signal box has been made presentable while the station has been incorporated
into the nearby sawmill.
Another patch of flooding has to be endured before the end of the WFCW
at a place without a real name. I use the name of the nearest habitation
which is Slack Cottage. A small car park and another useless access
point marks the end of the Fife section of the cycle way.
The Clackmannan Way (CW) continues after negotiating a functional access
point, when you think about why have this barrier in the first place?
The county boundary is 400 m to the east of this gate. This area is
also prone to flooding, the CW then passes through a wood before entering
the open country side for a brief period, Clackmannan can be seen to
the left. The way then crosses over the A977 beside Castlebridge Colliery,
the last deep "mine" in Scotland, before re-entering the woods.
The next point of interest is the disused brick works which is situated
alongside the CW. Keep out notices are posted at regular intervals,
the local Clay Pigeon Club has their range here. The chimney and some
of the kilns are very close the to the fence, the larger archways were
for the fuel, while the bricks were stacked inside the larger arches.
Continuing from the brick works the CW crosses over the Black Devon
River by another viaduct. The plethora of notices that were posted along
the bridge advising horse riders and cyclists to dismount have all disappeared
leaving the gray posts behind.
A piece of Sustrans artwork can be found on the mid point of the bridge,
just what it is supposed to be beats me. Shortly afterwards the CW crosses
over the B910 to end at a gate. Go through the gate and down the railway
embankment to another gate and turn right signposted for Gartmorn Dam
or turn right at the B910 and follow the road into Clackmannan where
the NCN 76 will eventually head for Alloa and Stirling.
The route for Gartmorn Dam continues alongside the railway
going through a local dumping ground and two gates before ending at
a T-junction with a rough farm road. Turning right will eventually lead
to the dam and is more fully described in the Gartmorn
Circular page on this web site. Despite everything that I have written
I love this route!
THIS ROUTE IS CONTINUED FROM
CLACKMANNAN TO ALLOA